MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- You hear the term high pressure often in a weather forecast but what does it actually mean? Well, typically it results in nice weather conditions. This is from a result of sinking air which eliminates clouds and precipitation chances.
Barometric pressure is the physical pressure exerted by all of the air above you. Naturally as your altitude increases, the pressure goes down, as there is less of the Earth's atmosphere above you to weigh down on you.
Meteorologist measure barometric pressure in "inches of mercury." A normal range is 29.50 to 30.50 inches of mercury with a normal around 30 inches of mercury. Our current area of high pressure is extremely strong and approaching 31 inches of mercury!
The highest barometric pressure ever recorded was 32.00 inches of mercury set in Siberia, Russia on December 31st, 1968. That's like being at an elevation of 2,000 feet below sea level. Our current high pressure is the equivalent of being at an elevation around 1,000 feet below sea level.
If you have ever heard someone complain about aches and pains or that they can feel the weather changing, they are right. But, it's typically low pressure that is troublesome. Although rapidly changing pressure over a short period of time can also be problematic. Lower air pressure pushes less against the body, allowing tissues to expand. Expanded tissues can put pressure on joints and cause pain such as tightness, stiffness, and discomfort.. People who suffer from fibromyalgia or arthritis are more prone to notice these changes.